On Wednesday morning, January 11, 2023, a critical Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system experienced a computer failure causing a nationwide pause on all domestic flights until 9 a.m. The FAA issued an advisory notice that the United States NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system “failed” but said just before 9 a.m. that “normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually.” NOTAM is a critical system that keeps pilots and other flight personnel informed of the status of airports across the country. The FAA also posted that it had “ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures” until 9 a.m. to give it time to “validate the integrity of flight and safety information.” At least one airline, United, issued a notice prior to the FAA directive saying it had grounded all flights.
The FAA said departures from a few airports were resuming after “making progress in restoring its Notice to Air Missions system following an overnight outage.” The FAA said it was continuing to investigate the cause of the computer failure, but noted that there was no evidence of a cyberattack at this point. The FAA also said it would provide regular updates as the situation progresses. The computer failure at the FAA caused significant travel chaos nationwide, with flight tracker FlightAware reporting over 1,000 delayed and 100 canceled flights in the US.